“Ask a Priest: How Can I Cope With a Disturbed Husband?”

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Q: Hello. I do not know how to cope with schizotypal personality disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and insomnia that have been diagnosed in my husband. I need to act in truth, and I have failed to do so. I need to love him regardless, but it is so very hard when I can’t go visit family without him thinking the worst. I feel doubted, dishonored and blamed for my choices because he doesn’t like the choices. I am still going strong on the rosary, still going to church. Thank you. -C.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: My heart goes out to you as I read about your husband’s problems. Our Lord has allowed a heavy cross in your life. Just the fact that you are making an effort to love and support your husband is a powerful testimony to your fidelity and charity.

It is noticeable that your husband has been diagnosed with so many conditions. The biggest diagnosis is the PTSD, which means that he has suffered from a traumatic event or events. This is what is likely making him so difficult to live with.

It would be helpful for you to be included in the psychological treatment your husband is receiving. There might even be some kind of couple’s therapy available, such as Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT). A good place to start is this website.

The therapy is geared toward helping spouses understand each other more and see the good in each other. It is focused on keeping marriages together and helping spouses to experience each other in a new way.

In the meantime, take things one day at a time. Try to stay close to the sacraments. Look for spiritual counseling, at least for yourself; a spiritual director or regular confessor could be helpful. Continue to stay close to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She knows the heart of a woman and will intercede for you.

I hope this helps. Count on you and your husband being included in one of my Mass intentions.

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